ASUU strike: Abia varsity students berate FG over lingering crisis
The students of the Michael Okpara University Of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State, have berated the Federal Government over its failure to proffer a lasting solution to its lingering crisis with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The students also lamented that the incessant strike actions by the lecturers to press home their demands were lowering the standards of teaching and learning in the various public universities in the country.
The MOUAU Student Union Government Public Relations Officer, Chijioke Emmanuel, told our correspondent that the development was heart-breaking, adding that the reality of the incessant industrial actions haunts the students’ minds.
He pointed out the students were outraged that strike actions have undoubtedly become part of the university’s academic calendar such that it now appears to be that no session is duly completed in public universities without at least a warning strike action which could last for a few weeks, or full-blown strike action, such as the ongoing strike in the country.
He said, “ASUU has embarked on industrial strike actions for a record number of at least 22 times from 1981-2018, and according to ‘dataphyte’, ASUU has also spent one in every four days on strike in the last 6 years. In recent times, at least from 2017 to 2020, the number of days spent on strike in Nigerian universities has seen a growth from 8.9% in 2017 to 68.4% in 2020.”
“The question of whether or not strike is the answer is a bit difficult to answer in a binary format, and the Student Union Government has charged the Federal Government with irresponsibility and unintentionality on their part for not allocating up to at least 26% of the annual budget to improving educational standards, frameworks, and structure in the country, which has been the core of the strike actions embarked upon by the union.
“This is disdainful on the part of the Federal Government, for the government ought to know that national development, scalability and international industrial competitiveness of any nation are driven by sound and quality education at all levels, especially at the tertiary/university level. And any form of neglect in this part will plunge the nation into underdevelopment, long term.
“There is a need for urgent intervention from the government to end, not just the present strike action, but to also inhibit future strike actions by fulfilling the reasonable demands of the Academic Staff Union Of Universities as far as infrastructural development of universities academic welfarism is concerned.
“There have also been concerns over payment system where the union has refused to accept to enrol their members in the IPPIS payment structure because of its impedance on the autonomy of the universities, and the FG’s doubts about the integrity of ASUU’s UTAS payment algorithm.
”This disagreement made over conference tables has only sent students away from their reading tables, and the resultant effect of this is borne heavily by the students who are slowly, but increasingly, losing regard, thirst, and hunger for education. This country will lose global competitiveness in technology if this continues because the students who are being prepared to compete globally and bring this country to achieving its potentials are out of school because of poor planning and hesitant implementation of the right policies.
“ASUU, on the other hand, should be considerate in making demands and probably find another alternative to pressing home their demands than strike actions.
Also, Nduka Ifeanyichukwu, a 200-level student of the university, expressed his disappointment over the development.
He said, “I am currently in 200 level, and in the two sessions from 2020-2022, I have experienced about 10 months of non-academic activities due to the strike, and more will come if the FG doesn’t do something urgently.”